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Frustrated and in pain please help!

Hi everyone thanks in advance for helping!
I'll start out by saying I'm a 22 year old female, not terribly active but I am moving all day. I don't remember any specific injuries. The pain started as mild aches that would flare up after a long work day. It seemed to begin around the time when I was working at Starbucks, and since I've quit, it's just gotten much worse.

My symptoms are:
Stabbing pain in a certain are of the back(between the left shoulder blade and the spine) and this pain radiates to other areas of my back in that area, such as below the shoulder blade further down along the spine and up into my neck and shoulder.
All of my pain is only on my left side
My left arm feels 'dead' but there is no numbness or tingling. I have weakness in that arm as well. It's hard to pick up a glass of water.
Can't sleep because of pain
Sitting, standing makes it worse
Feels like the muscles are fatigued, like you did a bunch of exercises and now it's tired and overworked. It's like this constantly and the stabbing pain comes on after about an hour of waking.
It hurts a little under my armpit over my ribs
There's also a tender spot in my neck that causes my arm to go numb when I push on it.

What I've done so far:
I started taking muscle relaxers as well as physical therapy. I've been doing pt twice a week for two months and it doesn't seem to help. They told me they have no clue as to why everything is still so painful and the deep tissue and needling work they do offers about 20 minutes of relief.

Went back to the doctor and they gave me Vicodin and a 6 day steroid.
Vicodin hardly takes the edge off, some nights I sleep and others I don't.
The steroid did nothing, so I did one more round, with no help. Now I'm doing more steroids, just higher doses, but it doesn't seem to be helping either.

I go for weekly hour deep tissue massages and she only focuses in this specific area. She says my muscles have gotten worse since I started seeing her in December. It is now august.

I had an MRI of my neck and spine and they came back with minor bulging but they don't think it's causing my pain.

I am meeting with a pain specialist tomorrow, and I'm hoping they might have some answers.

I am totally helpless now. I can't work, I can't sleep, Im irritable and cranky. I'm about to start 6 classes at my college in two weeks and I won't be able to do that if I can't get this under control. I have break downs very often, almost every night because of frustration and pain. I've tried hot baths, heating and icing the area as well as rolling on a tennis ball. This all is really discouraging because my friends and family are doubting my pain since nothing has been found. They tell me I'm just stressed. But I, the least stressed now than I have been in months so i don't know why it would be so bad now that my stress levels have gone down.

Does anyone have any similar experiences or suggestions on what I should do?
I'm desperate.
Thank you!


  • You can start by seeing what treatments the PM Dr offers you. If you're still having issues, you can ask about being referred to a spine surgeon to evaluate your MRI. My surgeon pointed out issues that the radiologist did not.

    I hope you get some relief.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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